The global oncology nursing workforce is essential to achieving Sustainable Development Goals 3.4 (reduce non-communicable disease morbidity by a third by 2030) and 3.8 (universal health coverage). Unfortunately, challenges to a robust oncology nursing workforce include nursing shortages, recruitment barriers (eg, perceptions of a demanding specialty with complex care and hazardous work environments), and burnout. Innovative recruitment strategies, onboarding and continuing education programmes, occupational safety measures, and burnout prevention interventions are documented solutions. The long-term effect of COVID-19 on oncology care worldwide is unknown, but immediate therapy interruptions, workforce consequences, and threats to standard oncology nursing practice are addressed here. Retention of experienced oncology nurses is crucial for future cancer control in all countries and must be addressed, particularly in resource-constrained countries with few oncology nursing staff and continuing out-migration of nurses to resource-rich countries. As the cancer burden worldwide increases, the future of the oncology nursing workforce is reflected in the call from the International Council of Nurses, Nursing Now, and WHO for nurses to move to higher levels of leadership, advocacy, and policy making (ie, national cancer control planning) and assume responsibility for their key role in achieving global goals for cancer control.
This is the second in a Series of two papers on oncology nursing